It’s almost routine and we’ve all seen it a hundred or so times. Gonzaga jumps out to a big lead, takes their foot off the gas letting the other team in the game, closes the half strong then runs away with the second half. The Zags, sporting the Native American light blue uniforms, ran roughshod on a surprisingly game Idaho State Bengals squad 120-79.
Rui Hachimura led the Zags scoring with 33 points, absolutely dominating the last five minutes of the first half and the first five minutes of the second half. He was an impressive 13 for 18 from the field including at least half a dozen dunks. Zach Norvell, who dominated the first 8 minutes of the game, scored 23 points and had 7 rebounds. Brandon Clarke led the Zags in rebounding with 9 and scored 15 points. Josh Perkins had an impressive 8 assists, including two great looks to Rui early in the second half, and no turnovers. In fact, despite being a fast-paced, high scoring game, the Zags really took care of the ball with only 7 total turnovers to go with 29 assists.
It’s hard to find negatives in a 40-point blow-out in the first game of the season, but the Bengals did score 42 of their points in the paint. Their 6’ 11” center Kelvin Jones was hampered by fouls, but scored 11 points in only 13 minutes going 5 for 7 from the floor. 5’ 11” guard Brandon Boyd led Idaho State in scoring with 15.
The Bengals success in the paint could partially be attributed to two early fouls on Brandon Clarke limiting his minutes in the first half. That and Bengals center Jones looked pretty good. Filip Petrusev also suffered a cut on his head in the first half limiting his minutes and causing the Zags to go to a four-guard line-up. The “small ball” Zags were very effective allowing the Bulldog to build a 20-point first half lead after Idaho State went up 21-20. With Rui dominating the beginning of the second half, the last 10 minutes of the game tuned into garbage time with GU hitting the 100-point mark with 7:31 to play in the half.
Texas Southern returns to the Kennel on Saturday, November 10 with a 7:00 p.m. start time.